Acquiring customers is costing restaurants more and more dollars and effort each day. In the restaurant trade what counts the most is how you represent yourself, so having bright, crisp table linen and an immaculate restroom is a must.
There are many hurdles you need to overcome in order to run your restaurant business well. One of them is trying to deal with a stale and uninventive menu. If you don’t give your menu a little kick once in a while, your restaurant will go bland and lose bite.
Repetition is a killer of any kind of business. Only a well thought out, creative and off-beat menu will do justice to the amazing establishment you want your restaurant to be. This will make the entire venture pay off in the long run.
While this may come as no surprise, your menu is why your customers come to you in the first place! And they want something not only palatable but inviting to look at. So, if you’re looking to impress them with taste alone, you’re making a lapse in judgement. And if you don’t offer a menu that is impressive at first glance, people are just going to go to your competitor.
So, add some variety to your menu to appeal to a wider array of customers. And get some excitement in the air for your patrons as well – a pinch of character in your menu. The adjustments don’t have to be dramatic – slight but to-the-point changes will do the job.
But as wild or temperate you choose to be with your menu innovations, rest assured they are going to have a resounding success with your visitors.
Not sure which road to take and need a hint or two? Our experts are here to dispel your doubts and point you in the right direction. So, dear monsieurs and madams, on our menu today are some tricks of the trade for improving your restaurant menu!
1. What’s in a Name?
You don’t have to be Shakespeare for writing up an impressive menu. You just need to let your creativity flow!
So, start by putting some spectacular meal ideas on the table. And keep adding to them from time to time. Making exciting changes to your menu on a regular basis will wow your customers and boost your sales. A slight transformation to what you traditionally offer will add some intrigue and excitement for your regulars, too.
You can use fancy and sophisticated names in moderation. But be careful not to over complicate things. Your menu should be straightforward and simple so people can tell what they’re about to put into their mouth. Nobody wants frog legs written in a fancy French name ending up unexpectedly in their plate.
Yet your menu names should be enticing enough to be an adequate overture for your restaurants’ amazing tastes.
Always make sure to state the major ingredients of each meal. And if suitable, use ethnic names as they add authenticity to the menu description.
2. Think of Every Detail When Designing Your Restaurant Menu
Your menu reflects your restaurant and it can help increase your customer base. So, give it a lot of thought and consider all the aspects.
Lorri Mealey from theBalance.com says you should determine your audience before deciding which menu items to include.
Think Culinary advises choosing your menu layout, colours and fonts according to your restaurant’s theme. They also advocate for correct spelling. Because having typos in your menu is unprofessional and can lead to ordering mistakes.
iChef’s Kirsty and Matthew Krueger encourage restaurant owners to think outside the box when designing their menu. They offer the following suggestions:
- Elicit menu ideas from your regulars – it’ll give them a sense of ownership
- Use the specials board to single out your existing menu items
Another tip to keep in mind is from Murray Wright of MurrayWright.com. He says a good rule of thumb is to ensure your menus are neatly written and clearly understood.
With in-house printing, we can squeeze a lot on a A4 paper – but in the evening with lights low, and the more mature customer having forgotten their reading glasses, (or not wanting to show they need them) things get hard. Make sure the typeface is big enough. With descriptions, be careful of technical terms – if people don’t understand, they won’t ask and just order the steak or schnitzel. Ask yourself why the term is needed – is it to genuinely inform the customer or make myself feel good?
3. Give Your Best Dishes the Best Placement
Who would believe that the positioning of your menu items matters? Well, it does.
Murray Wright reveals people tend to memorise the first and last items in a list more easily.
So, reserve the first and last positions on your menu for the dishes you want to sell the most. You can also put your unique selling point items on those visible placements to set yourself apart from your competition.
For more savvy tips on boosting your restaurant menu, check out this video from BuzztimeBusines.
4. Know Your Best-Selling and Worst-Selling Dishes
Another fantastic idea from iChef is to rate each of your menu offerings. Tracking the sales of every item and keeping a tally will tell you how fitting they are for your menu.
This will help you ditch the items that aren’t selling well so you can trim down your menu for long-term commercial success.
Plus, you can keep record of your customers’ preferences and keep your costs under control. But make sure to keep a good balance of both low and high-cost items at all times.
5. Kick Off the Holiday Season With Holiday Specials
Creating a menu unique to holiday events will generate excitement among your restaurant visitors. It’ll help get your customers into the festive mood even if they’re not feeling particularly festive.
Plus, it will allow you to expand your meal selection while controlling your costs.
6. Boost Your Restaurant Menu With a Compelling Healthy Food Offer
Choosing healthy food options is becoming more and more frequent among restaurant visitors. So make sure to always have healthy food alternatives on offer for your health-conscious customers.
Adding vegetable, whole grain and fish dishes on your menu is yet another way to delight your customers with your varied offer.
Include low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie meal variations to your traditional offer. But don’t forget to add some excitement and fun with some trendy healthy recipes. Combinations are endless! So give it a go!
Vanessa Cullen of Forward Thinking Design has some valuable insights on future of healthy food offerings to share:
“Wholefoods plant-based clean eating is in and here to stay, even with non-vegan or non-vegetarian consumers who are just seeking lighter, healthier and/or more sophisticated meals. Leading futurists forecast this as the top trend in the immediate and foreseeable future of food and it is being embraced by both the best chefs globally and small start-up ‘fast’ food companies popping up ahead of the curve.”
Take Your Restaurant to the Next Level
There are ongoing debates on what themes are favourable for a restaurant to leave an unforgettable impression. But that’s beside the point! Whichever of them you opt for or don’t, if you put a unique stamp on it, something truly yours – like a tweak or two in your menu – people are going to love it.
What’s important is for you to focus on the creative aspects of your business. With Fresh & Clean, your restaurant is bound for a bright future.
Why? Because we provide you with a comprehensive restaurant linen rental and washroom solutions, so you can take these things off your mind completely. It means no more worries about your tablecloth, napkins, serviettes, and tea towel supplies! No more washroom cleanliness issues!
Once you get those operational distractions out of the picture, you can put your mind and resources completely to keeping your restaurant in the frame for the big things.
And we’ve got a treasure trove for you here too: it’s Alsco’s fantastic list post with expert ideas for your restaurant business plan. 126 ideas to be exact! So, roll up your sleeves, dig into some research and make your restaurant business boom.